30 May 2011

80's Theme Birthday Cake

A friend of mine recently had a 80's inspired Birthday Party and I offered to bake her a cake for the occassion. Thinking of the 80's, who can still remember Pac Man, the Rubbiks Cube, AirWolf, A-Team and Who's the Boss? And don't forget all the music that made the 80's what it was, Cindi Lauper, Men at Work, Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna, AHA, The Cure, Depeche Mode and Queen just to name a few.

I wanted to bake a cake for her that  incorporated all the things we liked about the 80's and this is what I came up with...

I made a hip teenager that is chilling on her bed with a Vogue and her favourite Music Tapes and Walkman at hand (and her Rubbiks Cube of course!) Everything but the doll is edible.


Vanilla Sponge Cake

2 1/2 cups (625ml) Self Raising Flour
2 cups (500ml) Sugar
4 large Eggs
1 cup (250ml) Milk
1/4 cup (65ml) Vegetable Oil
1 tsp (5ml) Vanilla Essence

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Mix the eggs and sugar together till thick.
Add the flour, milk, oil and vanilla
Beat till smooth and creamy

I used a square cake tin 20cm x 20cm for the bed

Bake for 30-40 mins. It is done when a test pin comes out clean.



500g Butter Icing
250g Royal Icing
Edible Glue
1 kg Ready to Roll Fondant - white
Ball of Sugar Paste - about the size of your fist
Gel Colours - Blue, Red, Yellow, Green, Black
Edible Food Markers - Red, Blue and Black
Chocolate sticks (Sticko) or round wavers

The day before

Colour a small piece of the Sugar Paste light yellow and make some flowers out of the sugar paste and let them dry,also colour a small piece of Sugar Paste bright yellow and cut out a circle (for PacMan) and lettering for Happy Birthday.

Colour a small piece of sugar paste red, orange, blue, yellow, green, black and grey. Cut into small blocks for your Rubbiks cube. Use black fondant to make some Tapes. Grey for Walkman and airphones and blue for magazine cover. Write in your magazine with edible markers, also make stickers for your tapes and write on it with edible marker. If you need to fill in the spaces of the Rubbiks Cube use a black edible marker.

Fondant Tapes
Fondant Walkman

Fondant Rubbiks Cube
Fondant Magazine

On the day

Bake the cake.

Colour most of the Ready to roll Fondant purple (blue mixed with a little red), the remaining piece I coloured light yellow.

To make the bed, I cut off a 5cm (2 inch) piece of cake from the side of the Sponge Cake. This I used for the pillows.
I then covered the whole cake with Butter Icing.
Next I rolled out the purple fondant to fit the size of the cake. Carefully place the fondant over the cake, smooting it as you go to get rid of any air bubbles. Only smooth the fondant out over the top of the bed, let it fall naturally towards the bottom - this creates the effect of a duvet.
I cut the piece of cake I took from the top into two equal pieces and cover them with purple fondant. This is your pillows. I used a crimper tool to do the edges of the pillow and to seal the fondant.

Then take your chocolate sticks or wafers and attatch them to the top of the bed with some royal icing. This is your headboard. Once the headboard is dry you can pop the pillows onto the bed.

Fondant Doll's clothes
The top and pants for the doll is made from sugar paste that is coloured bright yellow. Cut two flower shapes out of the sugar paste that is big enough to cover her breasts. Attach to the doll with edible glue and another piece of white sugar paste on her back for the strap. Make a hot pants out of the rest of the bright yellow sugar paste and attach with some edible glue.

Once the doll's clothers is completely dry, you can position her on the bed. You might want to stick her to the bed with some royal icing - just to make sure she does not move around.

Fondant Blanket/Throw
Use the rest of the purple fondant to make her a little blanket that she can throw over her legs. Crimp the edges with the crimping tool. Stick some of the flowers you made all over the throw and on the pillows (use edible glue).

Fondant Frill
Use the light yellow piece of fondant that you kept asside. Emboss with a nice patern. Attach to the end of the duvet - as a pretty frill. Attach with edible glue.

Now all you need to do is add the accessories - Walkman, Tapes, Rubbiks cube and Vogue and the PacMan and Birthday lettering and voila!

80's Theme Birthday Cake

Be creative and have fun!

Homemade Soft Pretzels without yeast

While living in America I fell in love with Soft Pretzels. Fall time in New York City, the wonderful smell of freshly baked pretzels and roasted nuts hung think in the cool crisp air. There was no way pass them, with at least two vendors on every street selling freshly baked Soft Pretzels and gorgeous honey roasted cashews and walnuts I had to stop and buy some every time!

A few years down the line and I still crave those wonderful delicacies. Luckily I stumbled upon an old American recipe book, and when I saw the Pretzel recipe I was adamant to make my own. The only problem was that this recipe contains yeast, and I was not about to wait for dough to rise etc. etc. I wanted my Pretzels now! I adapted the recipe, tried it and it was absolutely delicious......

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2 cups (500ml) All purpose Flour
3 tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 tbsp White Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/3 (75ml) cup Full Cream Milk (this is Whole Milk if you are in America)
pinch of salt
Coarse Salt or Salt Flakes
1 Egg - beaten

Rub the Unsalted Butter into the Flour until it looks like crumbs. Add Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt and mix together. Add Milk slowly till all the ingredients are wet. Do not add all the milk at once. You have to make sure that the dough is not too sticky, but also not too dry. If you need more milk, you can add another drop. Once the dough is formed you do not have to let it rest, you can work with it straight away.

Divide the dough into smaller balls. Roll out each ball into a long snake. Twist them into shape and put onto prepared baking sheet. Once you have made all your pretzels, brush them with the egg (egg wash) and sprinkle with coarse salt or salt flakes.

Bake in preheated oven 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes (depending on size of your pretzels) - they should be nice and golden on the top.

Serve warm. You can serve them as is or with a delicious dipping sauce. Think honey and mustard dipping sauce or even a spicy salsa or nice guacamole sauce.

Now for that roasted nuts..............mmmmmm

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29 May 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

This is the easiest Homemade Ice Cream recipe ever! No churning and no machine required!

If you ever thought making your own Ice Cream is impossible or difficult, think again! This is the easiest Homemade Ice Cream recipe ever. I know you may think this Ice Cream cannot possibly be as good as the professional made ones or the good store bought ones, but I can guarantee you that it is just as good if not better and it is o so creamy and o so easy!!

Once you get the basic recipe right, you can really make any flavour of Ice Cream. I really like the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream because it reminds me of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups...yummy!

Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

2 Cups (500ml) Full Cream
1 tin Condensed Milk - you can half this if you want it to be less sweet
4 tbsp Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 cup (250g) Chocolate Chips

Whip the cream till it forms soft peaks. In a seperate bowl mix the Condensed Milk, Crunchy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips together. Fold into the Whipped Cream. Pour into container and freeze for at least 6 hours. Take it out of freezer 5 minutes before you serve it.

Now that you have mastered this easy Homemade Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, you can try different flavours. I will post some more flavours as I make them. Enjoy!